Prof. Dr. Sabri Sayari addressed the escalation of violence, terrorism, and civil wars in the Middle East as part of the SEPAM Seminar Series on 28 April 2016 at Antalya International University. According to Professor Sayarı, the failure of the popular uprisings against the authoritarian regimes to produce progress toward democracy was unprecedented. Contrary to the optimistic accounts, conflicts stemming from sectarianism and power struggles for regional hegemony have intensified political violence and instability. Sayari underlined that the ongoing civil war in Syria best exemplifies the impact of the Sunni-Shi’a conflict and the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia for regional hegemony. Additionally, the changing American foreign policy toward the Middle East under the Obama administration and Putin‘s efforts to reestablish Russia’s strategic presence in the region have contributes to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East.
Sabri Sayarı is currently Professor of Political Science at Bahçeşehir University. Previously he served on the faculty of Sabancı University where he became Emeritus Professor of Political Science in 2011. From 1994 to 2005, he served as the Director of the Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. His research has focused on Turkey’s domestic politics and foreign policy. His recent publications include The Routledge Handbook of Modern Turkey (co-edited with Metin Heper), (Routledge 2012) and “Party system and democratic consolidation in Turkey: problems and prospects” in Turkey’s Democratization Process (eds. C. Rodriguez, A. Avalos, H. Yılmaz, and A.I. Planet, Routledge 2014).